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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 2


2. The Throne Of Satan




Pergamos having been, as we have seen, the metropolis of the kingdom in whose territory the seven ecclesias were situated, was fitly selected by the Spirit as the place of the throne of the Satan. From the writing to the ecclesia there, it would appear that the clerical influence was stronger there than in any other of the seven. They were Balaamites and Nikolaitans; teaching idolatrous practices, committing spiritual abomination, and Judaizers and Gnostics. The miniature kingdom of Pergamos in its connection with christianity had become the Kingdom of the Clergy, whose power in the days of John, was enthroned in the city of that name being opposed both to State-Paganism and to apostolic christianity. It was the head-quarters of the Synagogue of the Satan, who, like its symbolical predecessor, Philometer, left all its effects to Rome.

The seven apocalyptic epistles illustrate "the things that are" -- the things that do exist while the Spirit speaks through John; the things constituting the christendom of the kingdom of Pergamos at the end of the first century, and in the beginning of the second. Pergamos was the throne of the clerical Satan as Rome is at this day; for Rome became the heir of all the effects of those in Pergamos who held the teaching of Balaam and of the Nikolaitans. But we shall not enter further at present into the consideration of the Pergamian Christendom, a type of the Greco-Latin Christendom at the apocalypse of Christ in power and great glory, until I have expounded in detail what remains peculiar to the ecclesias yet to be discoursed of.

Having dictated to John the superscription of the epistle as "To the Angel of the Ecclesia in Pergamos," the Spirit in telling him to "write" what follows, saith of himself that he is "He having the sharp two-edged longsword." The reader can here refer to what I have already written upon the saying, "Out of his mouth a sharp two-edged sword" in ch. I. v. 12. In addition to what is there said, we may remind the reader that Paul testifies that "there is One Body and One Spirit" (Eph. iv. 4). The one Spirit is sometimes in singular, and at other times in plural, manifestation. As the apocalyptic Son of Man in plurality, he speaks "as the sound of many waters;" but in speaking as one person, as the head and mouth of the one body, it is the glorified Jesus speaking, whom Paul styles "the Lord the Spirit," "the last Adam a life-imparting spirit," "the second man, the Lord from heaven" (1 Cor. xv. 45,47). The Lord Jesus, then, here styles himself paraphrastically, "He having the sharp two-edged longsword," which is the word or testimony of Deity; for "the spirit is the truth." "I am the truth," said Jesus in discourse; and he discoursed by the Spirit: and when the Spirit raised him from the dead, he converted him into solid, substantial, and corporeal spirit; so that Jesus and the Spirit became One and Indivisible.

The sword that he hath is styled rhomphaia. There are two words used in the apocalypse for our word sword. Being different words we judge that their signification is diverse. The other word is machaira. The first occurs in i. 16; ii. 12,16; vi. 8; xix. 15,21: the second, in vi. 4; xiii. 10,14. The rhomphaia was the longsword used by the Thracians; while the machaira was a short sword, or sabre, as opposed to xiphos, the straight sword. The machaira was the Roman military sword, the badge of office worn by the Imperial Lieutenant, to whom the power of the sword was delegated by the Emperor. This was not the sword with which he, the Spirit, threatened the Angel of the ecclesia in Pergamos, when he declared he would fight against the Balaamites and Nikolaitans among them "with the longsword of his mouth." This was the ord-sword, a sharper one than a steel-sword; for it destroys the soul eternally, slays it out of existence, when wielded against it.




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